It is 2021 and suddenly, it seems like everyone is taking their yoga teaching online! What started due to necessity during the pandemic has blossomed into a new frontier that’s here to stay. The beauty of on-demand yoga content for students is that they can practice with their favourite teacher from anywhere in the world, and on their own time. For yoga teachers, offering on-demand yoga content is not only safe during lockdown, but also convenient, lucrative, and flexible.
As the founder of YogiApproved.com and a yoga instructor with thousands of teaching hours, I recognized a need for quality online yoga offerings from experienced and down to earth teachers. So I created YA Classes, an online yoga and fitness platform, back in 2017. We create some of the highest quality content in the industry. As an early player in the on-demand yoga realm, I’ve learned a lot over the years when it comes to creating quality, engaging content.
Read on to learn my 5 top tips for creating your best on-demand yoga content, from a founder and teacher who's been doing it for years:
1. Quality Is Everything
Video quality is everything - this is not your typical Zoom class we’re talking about! If you want to create quality on-demand content, consider the following factors:
Lighting is so important but something that often misses the mark in online videos! Invest in a ring light (these cost less than $100 and are worth the investment) and try to film in an open, brightly light space. A more affordable lighting hack: set up in a well-lit room with windows behind your camera. Make sure all your lights are on and place an extra lamp or two next to your camera to act as your mock ring light.
Framing is another area that often misses the mark in online classes! It may sound obvious, but it’s important to get your entire body in the frame - ideally even your arms when you lift them overhead. Another golden rule for framing? Try your best to avoid filming in front of a door or doorway, or up against a wall.
When it comes to audio, whether you invest in a microphone or simply use Bluetooth headphones, it’s important to provide your viewers with clean and clear audio. This also means eliminating background noises and speaking clearly, without whispering or shouting. It’s all about that happy medium, my friends!
Finally, your setting. We touched on this in framing (try to avoid doorways, etc). This is your opportunity to let your personality shine! Set the space however you like it, but a few key guidelines to follow are: minimal is typically best, opt for an open space over a cluttered one, and avoid a busy background whenever possible.
2. Theme It Out
Students love themes, and for teachers, themes help navigate your class and also help you organize and deliver a unique and engaging experience every time.
Are there upcoming holidays, astrological events, or a time of year that call to you for a theme? Feeling inspired to create your own theme in the form of focusing on the chakras, or offering an arm balance flow?
Your students love variety, and themes are a great way to not only keep your teaching fresh but also create the perfect opportunity for promoting your on-demand content!
Bonus tip: take requests! As much as students appreciate variety and themes in their yoga practice, they also love being included in your planning. Ask your following what they would like to see - you may be surprised, and you’ll definitely be inspired!
3. How Are Your Cues?
Another issue I see with many teachers and current online offerings is the lack of sufficient cueing. It’s always important to be specific and clear in your guidance, but particularly when you’re teaching online.
Instead of saying “step your foot to your hand,” clarify which foot and which hand! Step your right foot to the inside of your right hand. Instead of saying “look at your thumb,” specify which thumb. Look up at your top thumb.
Challenge yourself to cue in such a way that your students don’t have to watch you to do what you’re instructing them to do.
4. Know Your Audience
Know your audience! If it’s an intermediate class, offer all the fun variations. But if it’s a beginner or all-levels class, be sure to offer modifications and extra guidance. We’ve all been to a beginner class where the teacher does a handstand or some other pose that makes everyone feel excluded. Don’t be that person!
Does your audience already have an established yoga practice? Then have fun diving deeper by adding other yogic practices to your classes: pranayama to start or guided meditation to finish. Is your audience new to yoga? Wonderful! Offer yoga props and demonstrate how to use them throughout your class. If you choose to use Sanskrit terms, explain what that is, break down the meaning, and offer the English translation.
5. Authenticity Is Key
A golden rule in teaching: Teach how you would want to be taught to! Be kind, considerate, and attentive (yes, even in an on-demand class!).
Be real - let them into your ‘IRL’ (in real life). Did you have a challenging day? Share that! Not in a spend ten minutes venting before you start teaching sort of way, but in a hey - I’m human too, we all have off days, and we’re here now to turn that around!
Also (and this is some of the best teaching advice I received early in my career), notice the tone in which you teach. Often teachers (particularly newer teachers) feel the need to put on a sort of tone or air when they teach. Instead, allow your natural voice to shine through. Speak from your stomach, not from your throat.
Finally, interact how you normally would! Do you have a fun sense of humour? Let it shine! Do you love to break down anatomy as students hold a pose? Geek out! Are you a storyteller and enjoy weaving these throughout your class? Go for it! Your students love you, for YOU. Give them your authentic self. They will see it and appreciate you for it.
Teachers: Use These 5 Tips to Create Engaging On-Demand Yoga Content
With these tips and your teaching skills, you’ll be on your way to creating engaging on-demand yoga content that’s high-quality, and suits the needs of your students. Enjoy the process and namaste!
Want to connect with me? Have additional questions about what I shared here? I would love to hear from you! You can find me on my personal Instagram, the YogiApproved Instagram, and of course on YogiApproved and YA Classes. Want to see more advice articles like this? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
Ashton August is an author, editor, yoga instructor, and founder of YogiApproved, a yoga and wellness site that inspires readers to live their healthiest, best lives. She is also the founder of YA Classes - an online yoga, fitness, and wellness platform that plants a food-producing tree for farming communities in West Africa for every class a member completes.